Bluegrass genus / SAT 3-22-15 / Virginia willow's genus / Opera conductor Daniel / Granite paving block / Hafiz knows it by heart / Go anywhere do anything sloganeer / Theodore Dreiser travelogue / Means of maritime defense /

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Constructor: Frederick J. Healy

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Daniel OREN (54D: Opera conductor Daniel) —
Daniel Oren (born 1955) is an Israeli conductor. […] Oren has conducted opera productions all over Europe and the United States. Since 2007, he is the artistic director of the Verdi Opera House in Salerno, Italy. Oren conducts at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Metropolitan in New York, the Arena in Verona, the Vienna Staatsoper, the Bastille in Paris and the opera houses of Rome, Trieste, Genoa, Florence, Parma, Turin, Venice, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Tokyo, Huston, Washington and many others. He also leads many symphonic concerts with orchestras such as the Santa Cecilia in Rome and the orchestras of Florence, Koln, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and the Berlin Philharmonic.
His opera repertoire includes many Verdi operas, including AidaSimon BoccanegraLa TraviataRigoletto and NabuccoPuccini operas such as Madama ButterflyTosca and Turandot; as well as Andrea Chenier (Giordano), Norma (Bellini), La Juive (Halevy) and Carmen(Bizet).
At the Israeli Opera he conducted Nabucco (Verdi), La Bohème, Tosca (Puccini) and La Juive (Halevy). (wikipedia)
• • •

Ah, the good old triple/triple stack. You know what? Fifteens are all solid. The rest of the grid ... much, much less so. This is, of course, the danger with the long stacks—easy to be happy when you're reading Across, but man, don't look Down. I got ten pieces of fill in my grid that I have circled to indicate their deep sub-optimality: nine of them are Downs. This isn't terrible surprising, since outside of the 15s there really aren't that many Acrosses (compared to Downs). Still, if you can't manage your Downs, you have no business going to press. Everyone knows the Downs won't be Great (how can they be in a stunt puzzle like this), but you should be limited to only one or two groaners, tops. Tops. And certainly no more than one "genus." Genuses (or "genera," if you're gonna be a jerk about it) are the lowest form of crossword answer. They say "I give up, I was desperate." So if you have to put even one "genus" in your puzzle, you better have a good reason and you should do so only with great contrition. Two genuses is a war crime. And *these* genuses!? Hoo boy. POA?! (4D: Bluegrass genus). That "O" was the very last letter I put in up top, and I just stared at that answer. POA. Someone said "Sure, that should be in a puzzle." That fact blows my mind. Apparently veteran solvers know POA from the olden days when short obscurities reigned. But I caught only the tail end of the Maleska era, and POA never made it into my word bank. See also (the improbably worse) ITEA (23A: Virginia willow's genus). That is head-shakingly weak. ITEA! I, TEA? [Leoni memoir?] [Oolong memoir?].

What is a USM? Is that Univ. of Southern … Mississippi? People know that? Also, people know the OREN guy? Looks like he's been in the grid before, though lately O-REN Ishii from "Kill Bill" seems to be the preferred clue for all your OREN cluing needs (you should try to set your OREN Cluing Needs at "zero"). EFS is hilarious because no no no no. Fs. People get Fs. Those are the grades they get. EFS, LOL. But to repeat—the 15s are good. The 15s are good. That is *an* accomplishment. Please disregard the rest of the grid.

For the record, this is how I broke this thing: I recognized 1A: 1968 hit with the line "I was raised by a toothless, bearded hag" as a Stones song, but couldn't remember which. "SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL" wouldn't fit. So I went at the Downs. Not much luck, really, but enough luck (KORAN FLACK!) that key letters in the Stones song turned up, and thus, I was off…

Then this is where I stopped to take a picture of the Rare Spotted POA:

Middle section was like its own, free-standing puzzle, so I went at the Down crosses again, and again a small handful cracked it open:

And then here's the place where I stopped to take a picture of the answer that probably really wanted to be IKEA but wasn't:

In both the top third and middle third of this grid, the genus clue was the last letter I put in. "O" in POA, "I" in ITEA. Lower third was easier, as I knew ERIE DARA DUNST SHAK TBA MUFTI YOGI.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:04 AM  

This one reminded me of Neapolitan ice cream.   Vanilla top third easy (put in JUMPIN JACK FLASH with no crosses), chocolate middle third medium (had to convince myself that EAR TO and IOTAS were OK as ITEA was a WOE), and strawberry bottom third tough (no idea about seriatim, DARA, or OREN).   

Excellent 3stacks (although Rex is absolutely correct, there is a surplus of dreck), fun solve and not a ONE'S to be found, liked it. 

Zeke 12:28 AM  

Is LESE = "start of treason" as in lese-majesty? If so, seriously? LESE is horrid fill, clued obliquely as a partial, confounded by having to associate it with a political concept (making fun of the king) that we here don't adhere to.

Jim Walker 12:31 AM  

UHOH. ISUZU, NISAN, JEEP triple parked.
LESE majesty for treason kind of classy. Most golfers could recognize POA but ITEA is truly a bush too far.

It was fun to see the fifteens solidify with just a few letters from the downs. So, I guess I liked it.

Whirred Whacks 1:03 AM  

I like stacked 15s a lot, but me oh my it felt I solved three different puzzles.

I started reading Rex occasionally in 2009. More so in 2012. And have been a semi-frequent commenter in the past year plus. I've never understood the people who dump on him. I figure it's his blog and he can say whatever he feels like saying.

I also feel that "Rex Parker" is kind of like the character that Stephen Colbert played on his TV show for the past decade, that is, somewhat different from the person who created it. Colbert conjured up a "cartoony-blowhard version of Bill O'Reilly," and Michael Sharp created a "dyspeptic crossword puzzle critic." Both personas are entertaining.

Carola 2:32 AM  

Challenging for me and DNF - but I had FUN trying. I agree with @jae about the three layers of difficulty, but mine were reversed, with the easiest one on the bottom. I worked my way into the grid from YOGI, which made the crossing words easy to anticipate - YES, ONE, GETS, IS - and I was off, not to the races but to a SLO ascent.

I seem to recall believing, all those decades ago, that listening to the Rolling Stones meant a betrayal of the Beatles, so I don't know any of their songs. Little did I anticipate then what that would mean for crossword solving in my dotage.

Bit the dust where the Gulfport school met the maritime defense via the incorrect dePEND, making the school the USe (University of the Southeast?) and the defense the dNK (sort of like the DEW line but in the ocean?). Unlikely? Yes, but unfortunately my brain was telling me, "NO CAUSE FOR ALARM," instead of, "For Pete's sake, run the alphabet."

Anyway, I enjoyed the piecing together and the tricky clues (Ally!), and MUFTI always puts me in a good mood.

@Jim Walker - Nice catch on those triple-parked OTTOS :)

chefwen 2:38 AM  

I agree with every thing WHIRRED said. Nothing Rex says has ever offended me. He lays it on the line and I appreciate it. Call it as you see it!

Saw the 15 stacks and decided to save myself for Sunday, hate those long stacks. So I have no comment on the Puzz, but I'll see you tomorrow.

John Child 3:20 AM  

I went down to a DNF after a long battle with this puzzle that I thought was pretty hard. DARA and DUNST ring no bells, and even though GEN Winfield SCOTT does, I couldn't see the name when I needed it.

Will Shortz's long comment on xwordinfo and wordplay is pretty balanced and has some news for fans (and haters) of stacks. Check it out.

And if you are a fan, you'll like this one by the King of Stacks that breaks new ground, I think:

Moly Shu 6:10 AM  

Agree with @Jae's 3rd's assessment. Top third straight in, no struggles. Like @JimWalker said, POA I knew from playing on it. POA annua is ok but I prefer paspalum. (Elitist golf aside over). I liked the puzzle but did cringe a bit at ITEA, ESSES and EFS. If it weren't for xword puzzles teaching me MUFTI, I think I'd still be doing the bottom third.

pfb 6:24 AM  

JUMPINJACKFLASH was a gimme, so I was off to a fast start. There were enough things I didn't know, but the crosses got me there.

Seemed more like a Friday than a Saturday to me.

GILL I. 6:37 AM  

@chefwen....I'm so glad you didn't say "it is what it is."
I'm a stackaholic. I stare at the empty spaces and just will myself to find a toehold or two. Yikes, this one felt like I didn't have a fighting chance.
Like @Carola, I've never been a RS fan but husband is/was, so he gave me my first JUMPIN JACK FLASH answer. OK....I can do this if I take my time, have another glass of wine, get up and walk around, sit down and concentrate. Thank goodness this isn't a contest.
Well....I really loved this puzzle. It made me say AHA!!!!! several times. Three letter crosswordese doesn't bother me in the least especially if you can have A HOOSIER HOLIDAY, ORANGE POPSICLES (I like lime better) and GOES TO FIRST BASE in your grid.
About the only thing I didn't like was MAGE for that conjurer old style. Never heard of that one. Is that like the missionary style?
You made me smile Frederick Healy and that's always a good thing.

rorosen 6:59 AM  

also agree with Whirred. If you don't like it here, stay home.

Thomaso808 7:02 AM  

@Whirred I like your comparison to Colbert, but maybe take it a little further to the "Princess Bride" character the Dread Pirate Roberts. Rex has been at this a long time and it's a tough daily grind. Maybe time to pass on the mantle. "Have you ever thought about being a crossword blogger?"

I always like to see stacks, so right away I liked it. Like the traffic jam called out by @Jim Walker. Also like the mix of KORAN, SARI, and HYMN in the NE. Offset by YOGI, SETT (Jedi thing, right?), and MUFTI in the SE. I did not like LESE or OREN side by side - no clue what either was, so got lucky with the crosses.

I also liked the pun ALLAY next to MCBEAL and the letter pattern of GEESE next to ESSES in the East.

Rhino 7:39 AM  

I'm always happy to simply emerge from Saturday's with all my body parts in tact. This one was fine, with a significant but not absurd amount of cheating.

I wanted Stone for DUNST but that's true in real life too.

jberg 7:59 AM  

Top third went right in, starting with NO CAUSE FOR ALARM, then bottom, middle was tougher. Had IMPEND. But thought that M should be a u. Finally realized that U could go at the beginning, and it fell into place. I did put in ISP for 44A despite its illegality, but DUNST was clearly better than iUNST.

Anonymous 8:14 AM  

Thought I would DNF but a few lucky guesses got me Mr Happy Pencil. Easy top, medium bottom, tough middle for me. People I know frequently talk about poa grass on the golf course so that came easily to me. Pondered MCBEAL for a long time, couldn't figure out how MABELL would make any sense.

chefbea 8:17 AM  

Too tough for me DNF what is itea and poa. guess I'll google

chefbea 8:19 AM  

Power of attorney is all I can find for POA

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

Poa a gimme for any golfer.

Fill is many times rated "good" or "easy" depending to some degree on one's interests or generation. Constructors who can appeal across generations and interests are for me the best - like Barry Silk.

Anonymous 8:37 AM  

A HOOSIER HOLIDAY wins first prize for stultifying academic obscurity. I read Sister Carrie and An American Tragedy in a college course on American realists, never heard this one mentioned. Worked it out by crosses. Not that this is definitive, but Google's article on Dreiser does not even list it as one of his works. It seems to me like a lot of real estate to devote to a second-tier book by a second-tier writer. Next up, William Dean Howells!

Hartley70 9:04 AM  

Wow, I think I'm in love with triple stacks. Rebus, it's time to move aside.

This was fun, fast and zippy for me. Best Saturday ever. But..I will say I thought MCBEAL was just too dated, and looking at Iyar, was it IYAR or lYAR? See what I mean? Capital I or small el (just as awful as EF). I think this may be an electronic problem, but I bet half the solvers are on gadgets now. The young ones, like 66 and under year olds. So please stop confusing us. I'm adding non-English months to the list of things I won't consciously memorize. They'll have to weasel their way in by themselves like Peewee Reese. Hello, Nisan!

chefbea 9:09 AM  

@Anon 8:31 so what does POA have to do with golf??

Jagger/Richards 9:12 AM  

was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain,
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas!
But it's all right. Im jumpin jack flash,
Its a gas! gas! gas!

I was raised by a toothless, bearded hag,
I was schooled with a strap right across my back,
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas!
But it's all right, Im jumpin jack flash,
Its a gas! gas! gas!

I was drowned, I was washed up and left for dead.
I fell down to my feet and I saw they bled.
I frowned at the crumbs of a crust of bread.
Yeah, yeah, yeah
I was crowned with a spike right thru my head.
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas!
But it's all right, Im jumpin jack flash,
Its a gas! gas! gas!

Jumping jack flash, it's a gas
Jumping jack flash, it's a gas
Jumping jack flash, it's a gas
Jumping jack flash, it's a gas
Jumping jack flash

Arnie's Army 9:14 AM  

Kentucky Bluegrass

Hartley70 9:16 AM  

I think of Angle of Attack (AOA) with golf. And Google tells me Point of Attack (POA) is football, which is somewhat like bluegrass genus to me.

Roo Monster 9:17 AM  

Hey All !

Ugh. Too many obscuritites for me. EFS?? Never figured out till read Rex. Ample (ample, I tell ya!) use of Check feature.

There's always tomorrow...


Loren Muse Smith 9:25 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 9:29 AM  

Aw, man. I made the silliest goof right off the bat that dealt me a dnf: "Torah" for KORAN. Sorry! What a big mistake in every sense. So that T off "Torah" and the J off JEEP had me completely committed to "….just a …" for 1A. Securing the death blow was "I dos" for HYMN, so obviously ACTS "as" instead of ACTS IN.

The clue for KORAN reminds me of the time I had my mother-in-law convinced we had named our puppy "Hafez al-Assad." She believed me for over an hour. ARF.

Rex – so many times your write up makes me laugh – the things you come up with! I, TEA – case in point.

But hey – if we allow ESSES, (CEE, DEE), etc, don't we have to look the other way on EFS?

I'm with @Carola – bottom and middle were much easier than the top.

Little known fact – Richards and Jagger, both stalwart crossword solvers, were huge Maleska-heads back in the day, and the original second verse was actually

I was raised by a toothless, bearded MAGE
I was locked, every night in a big ole cage. ..

So anyway, right before I headed north to secure my faux hold, I put in TURNED THE TABLES off the ESSES cross. Man, I'm good.

Loved, loved, loved the clues for JANE, INK, and MCBEAL. Especially JANE.

@Jim Walker - Good catch on the cars. I have to add the LTD to your group of OTTOS (Hey, @Carola) – not up there with them but still.

I guess there are some Wichita State fans who are enjoying 16A this morning.

@Gill – Gimme an ORANGE POPSICLE over a lime one any day. Banana Popsicles should just be fed to the geese.

I find triple stacks fun and challenging. Seeing this grid emerge from the printer is no BUZZKILL here. Thanks, Frederick.

George Barany 9:31 AM  

@Chefea, POA is the type of grass favored for high-end golf courses. No, I did not know that either, but learned it from the erudite discussion on this and other blogs. Sadly, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about the other meaning of POA during my parents' final illnesses, when it seemed like every banker and physician I talked to on their behalf asked to see my POA. Thanks for pointing that out.

There was much delightful stuff in this @Frederick Healy puzzle, which BTW was on @Will Shortz's accepted pile for nearly 3 years -- read the very informative notes over at The clue for MCBEAL was brilliant, referring not to the usual meaning of the word "ally" but to the title name of one of the leading TV dramas of the late 90's. The clue for TRUTH was diabolically clever, insofar as it could just as well apply to TOOTH or TEETH. Interestingly, only 2 of the 9 spanning entries had never been used previously in a Shortz-edited New York Times puzzle.

@John Child already mentioned, though not by name, a puzzle from a few months ago that was constructed by the brilliant @Martin Ashwood-Smith. It is a double triple (as opposed to today's triple triple) that was commissioned and edited by @David Benkof for "The Jerusalem Post." According to Benkof's specifications, every single entry/clue must be tied some way to the Jewish "experience" (history, culture, language, etc.) Therefore, it is fair to say that the aforementioned puzzle (for your convenience, I have provided the link) is the first-ever completely themed example of this genre ever created. Nevertheless, in the hands of a MASter, hardly any dreck!

Blue Stater 9:34 AM  

USM -- The University of Southern Mississippi -- is in Hattiesburg. It is nowhere "near Gulfport," as the clue states. Another factual error that has no business in the NYT -- *anywhere* in the NYT.

Laurence Katz 9:36 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teedmn 9:39 AM  

I love triple triple stack puzzles so Will Shortz's remarks in Wordplay that he thinks it is time to retire this type of puzzle breaks my heart. It was exactly this type of puzzle that led me to solving everyday, some time in the late '90's. Talk about a buzzkill - finish with triumph and WS takes away all my FUN!

I sabotaged my solve for quite a while having FlarED for FANNED. I wanted ORANGE something but FlarED kept it from happening. And the "saw" misdirect gave me TeeTH, also keeping me from seeing the TRUTH!

So I went down to the bottom where MUFTI and DUNST were gimmes. There's just a big thrill for me when I consider YOGI, look at 59A and with the few letters there, can leap to IS THIS SEAT TAKEN. I guess I'm down to hoping for a nice rebus now, sigh.

@Carola, no matter what your current age, I very much doubt you qualify for being in your dotage if you're doing this puzzle and Cryptics to boot. :-)

Thanks, Mr. Healy, for my last triple stack :-((.

Sir Hillary 9:39 AM  

Haven't seen stacks like this for a while in the NYT, so this was a refreshing exercise. Of course, everything @Rex said about the downs is correct -- the question becomes how much one cares about that. Today, the great 15s won out for me.

I play and watch enough golf to know POA. @chefbea -- POA annua (Kentucky bluegrass) is commonly used in golf courses.

Only writeover was TeeTH for what a saw has.

Finally, special props to the absolutely superb clue for MCBEAL. Matt Gaffney has termed this type of clue a "masked capital" and built one of his recent weekly metas around this very concept.

"N.G." 9:40 AM  

@Hartley70 -- I posted a comment for you on yesterday's blog, Friday, but very late -- around 10:15 p.m. If you didn't see it, hope you'll have a chance to look at it now. Sorry I was so late, but as you know, my schedule's been weird. Oh, and btw, that wrong guess you made on last week's problem -- the one we discussed at lunch -- can be corrected by simply adding twelve to your answer. I'm sure that will be clear when you think about it.

To everyone else -- boy was this puzzle a toughie, but then I'm fairly new to the game!

Casco Kid 9:47 AM  

No traction. No suss. Googlefest. 70 min. No errors. Buzz kill.

Laurence Katz 9:48 AM  

Thanks John Child for pointing me to xwordinfo and Shortz's comment. Very interesting to discover that Shortz is totally aware of a puzzle's deficiencies, a revelation that casts Rex's steady drumbeat of griping in a new light, at least to me. Shortz indicates that (1) Rex is mostly right in his complaints, but (2) less than optimal fill is the mostly unavoidable price he is willing to pay for clever construction. Which clarifies my personal reaction to this puzzle: I very much enjoyed figuring out the triple stacks, while hating the crap fill at the same time.

Mohair Sam 9:49 AM  

You give me three huge stacks Frederick J. Healy, and I'm gonna love your puzzle, and I did. Of course if you give OFL three triple stacks he ain't gonna love it, and he didn't.

Thought the fill was awfully good for three triples. Sure there was some strain (POA, ESSES) but there were lots of really strong non-crosswordy crosses too (MUFTI, MCBEAL, KORAN, HYMN).

@Whirred Whacks (and many others) - Rex pays his money and gets to criticize the NYT crossword, some folks here pay their money and criticize Rex. Maybe the criticism seems terrible because of that one annoying anon who personally attacks Rex several times a day, but otherwise I enjoy posts criticizing Rex's comments, and I doubt it bothers him.

And I totally disagree with your Colbert comparison. I don't think OFL would bother. Anyhow - Rex Parker's persona (if we're comparing him to O'Reilly bashers) is more like Keith Olbermann than Colbert.

I've defended Rex here more than a few times, and lately have criticized him. That said, I have tremendous respect for the work he puts in and the shots he's willing to take. I'm always aware that he has little time late at night to compete the puzzle, comment, find clever links, and post. No mean task, as I've said before, and certainly deserving of respect.

Anyhow . . . I freely criticize Rex today for his silliness about USM, given that the clue included Gulfport. And I praise the old grouch on his comment on POA, pure crosswordese.

NCA President 9:53 AM  

Put me in the Neapolitan camp, but my vanilla was in the middle. In order of difficulty it went middle, bottom, and then top. I had the "Jack" part in the top, but here's the thing. Remember me yammering on about how wonderfully working my brain is yesterday? Well today it insisted that the Stones song (and who could mistake those lyrics for anything but a Stones song) was Brown Sugar. I could not get it out of my head. From there I went to Jackie Blue, which isn't even a Stones song. Stupid brain.

We might as well go there, but this puzzle wasn't typified by the POA answer unless you change the A to an S. POS. A Piece Of Shite. Maybe too strong...but genera aside, this is the kind of puzzle only a grizzled NYT puzzle solver can either appreciate or at least recognize as one of "those" puzzles.

POA, ITEA, UPTILT (?), FLACK (as clued), SARI (as clued), NISAN, MAGE, SETT, DARA, and OREN...are all those kinds of words that people who don't do these puzzles regularly complain about regularly.

Labs do not ARF. They bark. ARFS are something that smallish dogs do. You catch are not the FLACK itself. And Seriatim? Seriously?

I didn't like it because it was clunky, arcane, and self-conscious...something I've seen a lot in these late week puzzles...trying to be difficult for difficult's sake. Admittedly that's a fine line to draw, but, as in music, when the outcome is tainted by the amount of effort to appreciate it, then someone ought to go back in and smooth the rough edges a little bit.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:56 AM  

Easy-medium for me, and I thought it was a lot of fun.

But I see that, solving on paper, I finished with one wrong letter. Best I could come up with for 27 D was "OO, HOT!" which made 26 A "UOM" that old *University of Mississippi*. Seemed as good as anything else.

Otherwise, two write-overs, the common TEETH before TRUTH, and 20 A, ACTS AS before ACTS IN.

I did have a small nit at 59 A, "Question on public transportation," for IS THIS SEAT TAKEN? In my experience, people board public transportation in ones or twos, and I f you get on and see an empty seat, you are completely justified in assuming that it is NOT taken. The question does come up mostly in a movie theater, where seats are not assigned, and people commonly do claim seats for not-yet-arrived or out-in-the-lobby companions.

But I do take serious offense at one remark by Rex Parker (who is, as noted above, not to be confused with the ever gentle and polite Michael Sharp). Don't call me a jerk! I was actually unable to complete a recent runtpuz because I refused to believe any literate person would expect me to enter "GENUSES" in a grid, when the only acceptable word is "GENERA."

Blue Stater 10:17 AM  

Hmmm. My 9:36 AM comment was "removed by the author," it is said. Well not by me (I don't even know how). So I'll try again.

USM -- the University of Southern Mississippi -- is in Hattiesburg. It is nowhere near Gulfport, contrary to what the "clue" says. Yet another factual error of the sort that should not appear in the NYT. Anywhere in the NYT.

Aketi 10:18 AM  

@ Whirred Whacks
Just about anyone who blogs eventually does develop a persona. One of the realities of adopting the cranky critic persona is that it then becomes amusing to critique the critic. There are both a) those who take Rex's critiques too seriously and b) those who take the critiques of Rex too seriously. I'm sure Rex can take what he dishes out from those who like to critique the critic and blow off the more outrageous comments from the inevitable trolls.

@ Bob Kerfuffle, ROFL. You reminded me of the absurdity of someone ever asking IS THIS SEAT TAKEN? on the subway in NYC. I once sat on someone's lap who managed to dive underneath me in time to take the seat before I could sit down. More commonly heard is CAN YOU PLEASE MOVE YOUR BAG?, which seldom yields pleasant results. I've given up on combatting manspreading, but I have figured out how to keep large men from smashing me into poles by adapting a Jiu Jitsu technique known as framing.

Nancy 10:23 AM  

Some wonderful comments today and anyone who missed them should go back and take a look. It's a "Watch this space" sort of thing...

@NCA Pres -- I'd forgotten who it was yesterday who talked about things rattling around in your brain that you weren't even aware of. JUMPIN' JACK FLASH falls into that category for me. It was one of the last things to fall, and only after I had lots of crosses. But, son-of-a-gun, it was there!

@Zeke -- I don't get LESE either. It might just fall into the category of Worst Answer Ever.

@Carola -- I also started at the bottom and worked my way up. I could never have solved this puzzle from the top down. I almost didn't solve it anyway, but was helped by IS THIS SEAT TAKEN -- the easiest long answer of the day for me.

@Bob Kerfuffle -- I also had TEETH instead of TruTH, and I held on to it for just about forever. Great misleading answer.

@"N.G" -- hang in there. We all started as beginners and we've all gotten better.

I thought this was a wonderfully challenging Saturday, I suffered appropriately and I enjoyed it!

Casco Kid 10:31 AM  

*I believe I've heard JUMPINJACKFLASH hundreds if times. Lyrics are unintelligible. So clue had to be googled.
* I know one Dreiser work, but not this one, so google.
*Also googles for both genera as I simply don't know those either, and they aren't sussable.
* Google for John CHO who was not a featured actor in the ensemble cast. Unsussable.
*Google for JEEP as I didn't recognize the ad copy.
*Google for LYAR got me pages and pages on the mouse genome. Google for LYAR and NISA_ got me NISAN. Wow. What fun.
* Daniel Barenboim is the only conducting Daniel I could think of. Googling on the top 25 operatic conductors in history yielded no Daniels. Googling on the orchestral conductors of today got me only Barenboim. I mean . . . ???!!! that one could have been clued "my college roommate's middle name". crosses didn't help with the suss.
* Google for DARA Torres after I lost my nerve and decided not to guess DAnA Torrres. no help from the crosses.
* I know a lot of Stephen King but not Uncle OTTO's Truck. Google. No help from the crosses.

You really can't call them crosswords when those long acrosses don't contribute meaningfully to sussing the downs, and visa versa.

Finally, for that question on public transportation? HAVEYOUORALOVEDONESUFFEREDFROMMESOTHELIOMA.... Well, it certainly feels like it right now.

Steve J 10:44 AM  

I, for one, am delighted to hear that this is probably the last triple- (and I'm assuming quad-) stack puzzle in the NYT. I rarely find the long answers to be scintillating enough to make up for the compromises - highly fractured grids and an abundance of fill that is, at best, choppy and, at worst, is horrible.

That said, this was a decent one as far as these things go. The long answers are good enough to make me not feel tortured by the bad short fill. But I certainly noticed its abundance.

I like @jae's Neapolitan metaphor, but my easy part was the middle. Top took a long time for me. Even though I suspected JUMPIN' JACK FLASH, I couldn't see it due to a couple incorrect entries: cAmI instead of SARI, and mixing up the director John Woo with the actor John CHO.

@Blue Stater: Your original post is there. And I think the clue is fine. Near allows for a lot of leeway. From my seat here in northern California, 70 miles from Gulfport is indeed near to it. The key point of the clue is to point you to Mississippi, and it did that. Had the preposition been in rather than near, you'd be correct.

@Bob Kerfuffle: I had the same thought on the public transit clue. If a seat's open, it's not taken. It's not like someone's friend pop around back for a second and will be returning imminently. IS THIS SEAT TAKEN is a phrase for theatres, restaurants with communal tables, bars, etc.

Steve J 10:46 AM  

@Casco: Your last post appeared while I was typing mine. I'm glad I wasn't midsip when I read your suggested public transit question. Perfect.

Z 10:59 AM  

This is a perfect example of the one major flaw of stacks, we end up with two 4x15s and one 5x15 puzzle linked by the barest of FILT. This has happened in other grid arrangements, but is very hard to avoid when the constructor uses multiple stacks.

Pretty much with Rex on the 15's and the fill. Cool/yuck. I imagine ITEA as a new marijuana MegaStore chain in Colorado. SO HOT seems very out of place on this second day of spring following the coldest February on record in these parts. Of course, it was the warmest winter on record hemisphere wide, so I guess it is appropriate. Not sure why ST. PIAL got split up over two threes. I don't know about the rest of you but when I think of classic Fords I think Model T or 1967 Mustangs. When I think of an LTD I imagine a car going 52 MPH down I-75 on the way to Florida.

Mistakes? I made plenty. My saws always have a moral. I UPlIfT when I raise something. Ms Torres was DinA then DAnA before DARA. I'm never making it to FIRST BASE with her if I can't get her name straight. I thought Passing side was AlEe. Buzzkills are killjoys. As you can probably infer, the middle puzzle alone took me an hour to solve.

@Zeke from late yesterday regarding debuts - I agree. Reminded me of the way my team of old guys would treat teams at their first tournaments. We would break out a weird zone on defense, run offensive sets they hadn't seen (ones where teams our own age would immediately know how to defend and shut down) and often get them arguing with each other because they couldn't figure out how a bunch of guys their dad's age and speed could be beating them. Our attitude - you're here so you better be ready.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

", for one, am delighted to hear that this is probably the last triple- (and I'm assuming quad-) stack puzzle in the NYT. I rarely find the long answers to be scintillating enough to make up for the compromises - highly fractured grids and an abundance of fill that is, at best, choppy and, at worst, is horrible."

Steve, reread what Will wrote. He said it was the last triple/triple, meaning a grid with three sets of triple stacked 15s, mainly because of the very low interconnectivity between the 3 main areas of the puzzle. And aside from a rather novel approach from Joe Krozel a while ago, this type of grid layout has all but vanished anyway. (I certainly stopped doing them about 13-14 years ago precisely because of this reason). So Will is tnot banning stacked 15s in general. Sorry to disappoint.

-MAS (purveyor of disappointment)

dk 11:03 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

At 1a "who do you love" (Peter green /Fleetwood Mac version from Barbed Wire Blues) popped in my head and would not go away.

Dropped to the battom and drank my way up (Divin Duck Blues). Admitted JANE was right for 1d and then I was done.

Off to Estes Park and luch with Jack Torrence at the Stanley Hotel. Oddly he keeps mutering redrum under his breath when we talk. Seems he has a killer idea that may apply to some of the profiling work I am doing,

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

@NCA President:

You catch FLAK, not FLACK.

Z 11:05 AM  

@Blue Stater - I can see both your posts. I found this justification for the USM clue. The USM article says it is a "dual campus" university with the main campus 70 miles north of Gulfport. I don't know about where you live or about the geography of southern Mississipi, but one can easily drive 70 miles on I-94 and never leave metro Detroit, so the clue is okay on several levels from my perspective.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

P O A were the first three letters I put in this puz. A gimme for anybody who cares about his lawn. I guess Rex doesn't.

mathguy 11:18 AM  

The upper puzzle was hardest. Hadn't known that petticoats are worn under SARIs. Was boggled by the clever clues for 1D, 5D, and 15D. Had heard of the song JUMPINJACKFLASH but hadn't heard the lyrics.

Can't say that it was a lot of fun, but I feel good about getting this toughie without any lookups.

Ludyjynn 11:23 AM  

I got off to a promising start with ISTHISSEATTAKEN, but went downhill from there. The clue reminded me of one of my favorite bits off the late comedian, David Brenner's, 1983 album, "Excuse Me, Are You Reading That Paper?" Someone on the subway sees him sitting atop a newspaper and in response to the above question, he says, "Yes", stands up, turns a page and sits back down again.

Back to the puzzle; this was a struggle which I FANNED on, but did enjoy the journey. Just when I have learned to like stacks, now they have become obsolete. Oh well, crossword construction, like life, is flux.

I got a kick out of ISUZU next to (the month of) NISsAN next to JEEP.

FLACK is also a noun, so correctly clued.

Who knew a woman wears a petticoat under a SARI? Had to verify on Wikipedia and there it was.

Still don't get INK for maritime defense. Anyone?

Really liked JANE, HYMN, MUFTI, TBA; ARFS and OREN not so much.

Think I'll go and buy some pansies to plant and welcome Spring.

Thanks, FJH and WS.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

Yikes! Did you just compare Michael Sharp to Stephen Colbert? Wacky indeed...

Jlb 11:29 AM  

Poa was the first thing I filled in. Itea was the second. Jumpin Jack Flash was the last. But then, I'm an old retired biologist who knows her genera.

mac 11:30 AM  

Tough for me. I know Jumping Jack Flash, but not the lines. Figured it had to be some unknown C&W song.

I also started at the bottom and worked my way up. Hand up for "teeth" for a while.

I have no problems with stacks, any kind of stacks, but in this one the downs were especially hard. I loved the clue for 22A, ink, and the pile of cars is wonderful.

Just yesterday I asked someone to remove his bag on the Metro North.

Nancy 11:30 AM  

@Aketi: I ride the subway. Can you tell me about the Jiu Jitsu technique known as framing? Sounds like it might come in handy.

@Teedmn: I just read your post that Will Shortz is going to retire the triple stack. Like you and Hartley70, it's one of my faves too. Not my TOP fave -- that would be the rebus -- but it's up there with some of the most enjoyable and challenging. Aw Shucks!

Tita 11:34 AM  

@NCAPres - I kept my sister's lab for a few months. One of those dogs who simply can't bear to be more than 12 inches away from her human. Working from home, and many speakerphone-based conference calls, led me to put Astra in the basement.
Now - this was a dog who could stop your heart with her deep and sudden bark.
But she would ARF and yip behind that basement door. People on the phone would ask me if I had a Yorkie.

Malopop - I had Uncle OREN'S truck for a while.
Maybe Daniel OREN drives a JEEP?

I did great at Puzzle #1, tossing in "ITSALLRIGHTNOW", immediately correcting it when I had a leftover square...

Puzzle #2 gave me a bit more trouble, not knowing Ally MCBEAL, and still not understanding (or caring) about how she is a partner.

Puzzle #3 caused my Level 2 DNF - even after getting SCOTT from puzz-apouse, needed a few reveals.
Learned that I knew everything about SETT stones - except for what they are called.

Hmm - I was going for a spelled-out letter theme (ELS, ESSES, EFS), but Mr. Healy was going for an OTTO theme...

Agree with the criticisms, but liked it anyhow.
Not sure I agree with Will's categorically BASHing 3-stackers.
One of his complaints - few paths through the puzzle - I thought that's part of how you make a Saturday hard!

Thanks, Mr. Healy - glad this GoTTOFIRSTBASE before Will's pick-off.

operadoc 11:34 AM  

I do know Daniel Oren. He was my conductor in Washington DC in 1986. Im a retired operatic tenor.

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

Fair and balanced review Sam - well done.

Blue Stater 11:36 AM  

@Steve J - Well, perceptions of distance differ in California (and I've lived there) and the Right Coast. Troy, NY (70 miles) certainly isn't considered "near" my Massachusetts dorf on the Vermont border. The giveaway in the Wikipedia article was the reference to a satellite campus in Gulfport, which I did not see when I googled before commenting. Still, I think cluing an academic institution by a reference to a satellite campus isn't fair, even on Saturday.

Malsdemare 11:39 AM  

My grandson Noah was born in the middle of Hurricane Francis in Miami, and my daughter and I sang "Jumpin' Jack Flash' all the way from Illinois to Florida. ("I was born in a force five hurricane . . . ") It was the first answer to go.

DNF here for all the reasons others note, but I'm sure impressed with the stacks. Those I got; it was the stinky POA and such that took me out. But I'll be rockin' to Mick for the rest of the day.

Tita 11:39 AM  

Clarification - I put Astra in the basement ONLY during client-facing conference calls...please don't rat me out to the ASPCA!

And watch this hilarious video, at least to those who suffer through virtual meetings on a regular basis...
(At 2:33 you can hear some ARFS.)

Hartley70 11:47 AM  

@NG Thank you for the heads up on Friday. I had indeed overlooked it. Both messages have now been received. What fun I also had at lunch! I am now retiring to consider your various proposals and I'm confident I'll resurface sometime in 2019. xx

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

is there some petition somewhere i can sign to ban quad stacks too?

oldactor 11:59 AM  

Think squid.

Zeke 12:00 PM  

@Anon 11:51 - Yes, there is such a petition. I started it online here. Unfortunately, Will refused to accept it. He has a policy of having 1,000 signators before he considers the petition, and all we have is 27 real names and 984 Anons. Will rejected it because Anons are useless.

Gene 12:05 PM  

POA Annua (annual bluegrass) is a very common annoying lawn invader; I guess Rex doesn't take care of his own lawn. And, @Sir Hillary, Kentucky Bluegrass is Poa pratensis (had to look that up, but knew it wasn't Poa Annua).

AliasZ 12:12 PM  

I looked at the empty grid and said to my self: "Self, you are getting three Saturday puzzles for the price of one today. NO CAUSE FOR ALARM, triple the stacks, triple the fun!" That's right, that's what I said to my self.

And fun, I had. Three times more than I deserved. It started at the bottom by politely asking the nice lady: "IS THIS SEAT TAKEN?" before positioning my bottom on the end of the bench alongside hundreds of other crossword solvers, and ended in a FLASH of the JUMPIN' JACK variety. Sorry to say, I got nowhere with the lady. I guy like me never GETS TO FIRST BASE with a nice lady like that.

As to dreck, this one had a little more than even our usually congenial, pleasant, understanding and forgiving commander-in-chief @Rex (aka Sunny) Parker could take. For once, Will Shortz concurs. @MAS and Joe Krozel, I hope you won't give up on stacks. I love a well-stacked puzzle.

There is no dreck like puzzle dreck. All have been amply covered already, so I won't waste anyone's time. Except for OREN. It would have been more fun to see this clue: "Boarding house sign made on a typewriter missing the T."

When it comes to opera conductor Daniel OREN, if he is not the world's worst conductor ever to have made it into NYT puzzles, he is pretty darned close to it. To wit, see Mr. OREN going through spastic gyrations and going nowhere, followed by a Master Class on how it's done.

Happy first full day of spring!

Lewis 12:21 PM  

@whirred -- good post!

I agree with Rex today, all the way through. The 15s are beautifully solid (except the Dreiser travelogue was maybe too obscure). But too much ugliness in the downs.

Still, I had a blast with this, and as someone said earlier, the longs outweighed the shorts. I loved the clues for MCBEAL, TRUTH, ISTHISSEATTAKEN, YESBUT, and JANE. I don't understand the INK clue -- can someone clue me in please?

M&A -- On 57D, clued "Alternative to '?' in some listings", I fantasized about the answer being "??"

Masked and Anonym007Us 12:23 PM  

M&A factoid of the day: Genus of cinnamon rolls = IEAT.

Lingered on 1-A for quite a while. Sorta recognized the lyric, except for the word "bearded", which threw me. (In retrospect, I had always misheard that word as "bitty"). Made the day-um thing sound like a CCR song. But "Green River", etc wouldn't fit right. Finally wised up, and wrote JJF in, as my first entry. I guess this lyric muff stuff can happen, when U get a Brit singin a cajon-style song.

Anyhoo, lost many valuable nanoseconds, on JJF-fest. At the ACPT, the janitors woulda been insistently runnin the floorbrush under my feet, while I was still stubbornly on 1-A. And, @muse: no, M&A (per se) will not be at the ACPT this year. Still have my nametag from last time, tho, with the wee little M written on the one corner and A written in another...

Kinda like POA. And yet, sorry to say I've had to use the POA on tidyin up my own folks' affairs, too, in the past.
Must try to cheer things up and use POA in lighter conversation today, down at the local beanery...
1. The potato okra soup tastes a bit poa today.
2. Poa me another cuppa coffee, darlin.
3. This throbbin-rare meat reminds me of an Edgar Allen Poa tale...
4. "Poa, deer, a bearded deer... fah, a loong looong way to run to the mensroom..."
But, I digress.

EHS: Musta tried every other confused grunt alternative to this, in my post-JJF-fest panic. Rat fudge. Does EH for real mean you're confused? Confused on how to properly say "um", maybe...

USM: Man, now this is some serious desperation packed into one pretty lil weeject.

IAL: Capp genus?

To sum up eh I thought eh this was a real eh fun eh puz with lotsa eh lively short fillins eh.


** gruntz **

Aesop 12:26 PM  

What a saw often has: moral -> TeeTH -> TRUTH

GPO 12:28 PM  

This was certainly an easy start. Back in the day, "Jumpin' Jack Flash" was pretty much the first song any pickup garage band would get down.

It toughened up during the middle but overall a pretty easy Saturday at about 20 minute. At least 5 of which were spent staring at "___CBEAL" wondering what the hell had gone wrong before I remembered that stupid dancing baby.

I always have to laugh at the way the puzzle, and especially the "fill," seems to be measured solely on the criterion of how familiar our host blogger is with the words in question. For me, I expect the words to be obscure and the puns insufferable, and I am never disappointed!

Strummer174 12:33 PM  

Rex read my mind (or puzzle, I guess) today. I blew through the top 2/3 and most of the bottom, but could not, not, not get the middle letters in EFS, DARA, MOFTI, OREN, and LESE, so my poor 58-Across sat hopeful but unfulfilled, like so many first-time voters.

Z 12:35 PM  

@Lewis - See @Old Actor 11:59.

Ludyjynn 12:36 PM  

@oldactor, thanks so much. Now that I finally get it, INK is terrific.

RnRGhost57 12:39 PM  

@Malsdemare: "I was born in a force five hurricane . . . "
Genuine LOL.

Great comments section today.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

IMO the E in ITEA/EARTO would have worked better as an S...

Casco Kid 12:51 PM  

A far more timely and accessible puzzle to do today is Well-Tempered Kapellmeister, courtesy our own @George Barany. It is mostly early-week easy, but it packs a Saturday element, at least in my book. Highly recommended to put a melody back into your day after this morning's buzzkill.

Casco Kid 12:51 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
M and Also 1:01 PM  

Daily double usage, in our local beanery...

"POA me anutha glassa I. TEA, garcon with that beard under yer C..."

Genus. Pure genus.


Anonymous 1:11 PM  

You don't have to "know" University of Southern Mississippi to get the answer to "Sch. near Gulfport" (three letters).

You should that Gulfport is a city in Mississippi. If you don't know where it's located in Mississippi, the "Gulf" part of the name should lead you to believe it's on the Gulf of Mexico, therefore in southern Mississippi.

Two logical answers immediately pop-out even if you have no idea if either is a real school: MSU for Mississippi Southern University or USM for University of Southern Mississippi.

The crosses should give you the M or U position and there you have it.

This was one of the easiest clues in the puzzle.

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

Nine boring 15s, including the "green paint" orange popsicles, and a bunch of horrible downs. No sparkle or wit anywhere. Meh. Guess I'm just grumpy today.

Numinous 1:18 PM  

Daniel OREN may be the only conductor of the NY MET to have been arrested and hauled off the podium in hand cuffs at the end of a performance.

John CHO really IRKED or IRED me. TRUTH, he was in three movies that start with American but you have to go to "See full cast" to find him and even then he's a long way down the list as John, MLF guy #2.

Yeah, I had TeeTH for a while but when I reread the clue it occured to me that saws of a certain type always have teeth but there are the verbal type that occasionally contain TRUTHs. Hands up for IS THIS SEAT TAKEN being the first of the spanners to go in. Getting the rest was like trying to pull molars with a pair of tweezers. I had to google for the Stones song, It's one I've never liked and have never paid attention to the lyrics. But that gave me JANE though I believe that Spot did most of the running (at first I was looking for some kind of nickname for Spiro).

I don't know about a satellite campus in Gulfport but 70 miles isn't near. To me, 20 minutes by car or 10 minutes walking is "near". If it takes more than an hour to drive, it's not near. If there IS a campus in Gulfport, it is not "near" it is "in".

It amazes me that folks here might think that Will Shortz is unaware of crappy fill. He seems to see crosswordy stuff as a necessary evil, something to trade off for otherwise cool stuff in a puzzle. This is Michael Sharp's blog and he can say whatever he likes no matter what we think of it (and he's said he largely ignores the comments anyway). The puzzle is Will Shortz's and he can publish any puzzle he likes. Evidently he's probably not going to publish any more triple/triple stacks (I'm betting that in the years to come, a few will slip by).

Despite googling I got a DNF because I spelled it POPcICLE. Egad!

M and A Help Desk 1:18 PM  

@Anon 1:11pm:
True, but a friendlier clue for solvers that ain't been to Mississippi...

{Doctrine held only by me and you??} . . . (yo, @Lewis)


old timer 1:21 PM  

I'll miss trip stacks and quad stacks, because I'm good at them, and it is fun to feel like a winner. 1A, I immediately knew it was the Rolling Stones, and the downs made the answer clear (though I mistakenly started to write "jumping" instead of JUMPIN). Wanted Spiro for 1D, but when that did not work, JANE came to mind. 38A had to start with ATTENTION, and when I replaced "teeth"with TRUTH, the middle was easy. Was stymied by the answer for "Ally" for a while, but not for long. My big mistake was not knowing MAGE and therefore not seeing ESSES. In the bottom, I immediately put down ISTSHISSEATTAKEN as soon as I had SCOTT and MUFTI.

I thought it was a very good puzzle, though I agree with Rex almost entirely.

As for USM, if I was to give you a clue that said, "Town renowned for wine near San Francisco", and more than four letters were in the answer, I think you might remember "Healdsburg" if it fit (you should, for there is fantastic wine tasting there and very good food, too). That town is *more* than 70 miles from San Francisco.

Lewis 1:28 PM  

Factoid: A gaggle of GEESE that is flying is called a wedge or skein, and flying in V form increases a goose's flying range as much as 71%.

Quotoid: "Oh, Sally. Funny, funny Sally. Oh, oh, oh." -- DICK and Jane book, "The New We Look And See".

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

Yeah it's his blog so he shouldn't be criticized. Brilliant.

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

Wow you people would have made great Nazis.

Ludyjynn 2:00 PM  

At the start of first grade, I missed a couple of weeks in a row due to eye surgery. When I returned to class, I was placed in the 'slow' reading group because of my absences. I can remember to this day the precise 'aha' moment that we were reading aloud from the Dick and JANE primer and the letters merged into coherent words to me. In an instant, I became a voracious reader and was immediately transferred to the 'advanced' group. Thanks, as well, to Spot and Sally.

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

Has anyone EVER said rex can't say whatever he wants to? Why do you idiots keep pretending anyone has? Straw man, going straight to hell.

Moly Shu 2:19 PM  

@Casco, you are dangerously close to incurring the wrath of @BillyC. I applaud your courage. You're my hero.

Z 2:21 PM  

@Lewis - Ann Arbor Ultimate always has a theme for team names. This spring the league theme is "things that sound dirty but aren't." Thank you, I think I've found our name.

@Numinous - I can drive 40 miles in almost any direction from my place and still be in "Detroit" (except south - 2 miles south and I'm in a different country). It will take me an hour. Once I'm beyond 40 miles from home I can go 70 miles in less than 50 minutes. "Near" is a very relative thing. Of course, for me "Gulfport" suggested Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and even Arizona or New Mexico (No, they don't touch the Gulf of California, but I wasn't 100% certain of that mid-solve), so other than a U it was a game of whac-a-letter there.

Hartley70 2:36 PM  


Mette 2:42 PM  

@oldactor - thanks for the INK explanation.
@Numinous - appreciated the link. Now I may never forget Daniel Oren. Agree with you about CHO.
My SARI was a cami so Googling hafiz and CHO was the only way out.
Hope WS was serious.

Casco Kid 2:44 PM  

@Moly It turns out that @BillyC doesn't actually solve crosswords. If he did, he'd be @George Barany's biggest fan.

Fred Romagnolo 2:52 PM  

Against all precedent, I've come across an anonymous I'm in accord with! @8:37. 16A is painful, if that's what is needed for triple-stacking, thank God Will is going to bear down on them. Casco's example of "my college room-mate's middle-name fits it perfectly. @Kerfuffle is exactly right on seats on public transit. Anyone who has read my blogs will understand that I had no knowledge of 1A, like @Mathguy , I had heard OF it, but had not heard it. Oddly enough my entry was the clue: seriatim, but for reasons stated DNF (although I googled at the end). Surely SO HOT is a greenpainty it might be anything kind of answer. I couldn't get POPSICLES because ORANGE Julius haunted me; also greenpainty. Still don't get DSL as a kind of provider.

Aketi 3:27 PM  

@Nancy, framing is what you do prevent someone from sitting on your chest.

1. You "shrimp" your hips out to one side before the person can flatten you to the floor, then roll full onto your side so your back is at a 90 degree angle perpendicular to the floor.

2. The upper part of the arm on the side you are lying on is braced on the floor and Angeles out away from your body.

3. The forearm on the side you are lying on is angled straight up from the floor at a 90 degree angle.

4. Then you grasp both hands together so the forearm of the arm that is top side is parallel to the floor and perpendicular to the floor.

5. The upper part of the top arm is braced against your side.

Essentially you create a frame with the upper part of your bottom arm as the base of the frame, your bottom forearm and back as the two opposite sides of the frame and the top forearm as the top of the frame.

I can support the full weight of a 250 pound man in that position with no problem whatsoever. If my back is at the slightest angle, the whole frame collapses and I get crushed.

The subway version I adapted was to pretend the pole was the floor, bracing my upper arm and shoulder against the pole and creating the frame with my arms so the forearm facing outward protected me against the body slam.

Aketi 3:31 PM  

Sight, in point 2. Autocorrect changed "angled out away from your body" to "Angeles out away from your body.

Aketi 3:31 PM  

And the sigh was corrected to sight.

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

My lack of knowledge of entertainment trivia and some devilish misdirection made the topmost triple stack the very last portion for me to complete. I read the clue for 6-D as lyar instead of Iyar (not that reading it correctly would have helped me much) and confidently wrote in 10-D as QURAN, creating major headaches.

Hattiesburg, MS is in such a godforsaken part of the state that it isn't near any place of note. Gulfport will have to do in the clue.

Did anyone notice that if you allow for slight misspelling, the answers to 5-D, 6D, and 7-D are all related to automobiles?

Wendy the Snowperson 3:54 PM  

Confession: to me, LSU is near Gulfport! Nearer than Natick. And I've never been able to understand any of the lyrics to Jumpin Jack Flash, so I asked my husband, the house music specialist. Turns out we only know the chorus. Also, I love stacks, but not obscure plant genus questions.

Ludyjynn 4:28 PM  

@Fred, Digital Subscriber Line or DSL is one form of Internet access. My 'provider' is Verizon FIOS.

@Anon 3:51, yes, I noted this in an earlier post hours ago. As @SteveJ recommended yesterday, it's a good idea to READ the previous comments here before posting. Just sayin'...

Bought 3 flats of stunning pansies. Now I've got to get them planted. Here goes.

Anonymous 4:40 PM  

@Ludyjynn - had you read all the comments before you posted? Just sayin'. . .

Z 5:30 PM  

@Casco Kid - Thanks for the link. Hilarious. HAVEYOUORALOVEDONESUFFEREDFROMMESOTHELIOMA made me think of Warren Zevon.

Leapfinger 5:37 PM  

Wrote this hours ago, but didn't send it off. I won't pretend it's still timely, but seems a shame to waste all that effort.

You aren't being ageist, are you? I've been plugged in (and on Medicare) for years.
Not to confuse further, but you can add [capital i] Iyyar to that mix.

Cherry POPSICLES over Lime, any day of the week. Actually, as I remember, the flavours were better described as just "red" and "green".

@GeorgeB, count me as one who plumped for "teeth", though a saw should have 'em more than just 'often'. Clever enough to fool me, though I drew the line at "tooth". TRUTH to tell, I should have been warned off by carpe/carp_enter.
Was it not funny how Shaq/SHAK came together?

@Sir Hillary, thanks for the term "masked capital". Agree that was an awesome clue for MCBEAL.

@CascoK, me too,annoyed that I couldn't squeeze bORENbaim into
the space allowed.
Just a little confused by your
Had a good laugh over your getting hit with the mouse genome (that stuff figures in my distant past.)

Sorry, NCAPrez, what you catch is FLAK, if you are a FLACK. You can look that up.

@BobKerfuffle, you are the most GENERAs of GENiUSES. Yes, I realize that was Kerfawful.

I'm never going to finish reading the comments at this rate. Will just quickly say that I went all googly when I saw there were triple trip-stacks waiting, even if they were no MAS. LESE may be more, but that's not true for me and trip-stacks. If only Shortz Will take his time, I'll have NO CAUSE FOR ALARM.

Agree with all that was said about public transportation seating; when I had partial crosses for that slot, my mind conjured up "IS THIS the bus for HoboKEN?"
[btw, @Aketi, I'd like to hear more about 'framing']

Other sidelines: 'fouled' before FANNED; ATTENTION, People; initially wondering whether it would be 'Quran', and thinking 27D would be some var on 'wooHOo'.

Also thought the timing was excellent for ALLAY-oop. (ACC is 6 for 6,at this point!) Lots of good OTTOmotive stuff [incl GEN MOTors], and another interesting cross at HYMN/ ACT SIN.

Not as hard as I expect a Saturday to be, be it sure knew how to show a lady a good time. Thanks, FH, and may the Healy Power be with you!

Nancy 5:41 PM  

@Aketi. Sorry I asked. No, actually, I REALLY do appreciate your taking such a huge amount of time and effort to give me all this information which, unfortunately, 1)I can't visualize
without diagrams and 2)lotsa luck that I could perform any of this at my age and my petite size. Curiosity shall take me to YouTube for photos, but I don't expect to put this into practice any time soon! Join me in hoping that no one decides to sit on my chest any time soon! And thanks again for the detailed explanation.

Billy C 5:44 PM  

@Casco --

I'll give you a pass on this, but just one ...

Nancy 5:47 PM  

@Leapfinger -- @Aketi provided detailed framing instructions to me at 3:27. Maybe you can use them. God knows I can't, as you will see in my reply to her just now. (You and I were typing at the same time.) Hope you CAN use them. Lotsa luck!

wreck 5:55 PM  

I thought the clue was just fine for USM. My own mother actually went to Gulf Park College for Women in Gufport MS for a year, so I was knew where it was. "Near" is relative - the clue helped infer the answer.
I don't have a problem with "triple stacks" per se, but they really have to be exceptional to avoid the dreck fill with them.

wreck 6:03 PM  

As always, I really need to proofread before I post!

Ludyjynn 6:35 PM  

Sorry I'm over the limit, but am responding to @Anon.4:40's question. My answer is, Yes, I try. Not perfect, never claimed to be, but I try not to be redundant here.

Tita 7:01 PM  

@GeorgeB - I blame my brother for my not questioning the "sometimes" for that Saw clue...
I've posted here before...

"Reminds me of a joke my brother made up when he was about 8. "What do cowboys usually have?"
He broke himself up with that one. Still does..."

@Arketi - gadzooks, to both your framing and to your culinary adventures yesterday.

wreck 7:07 PM  

I wanted to be a stand-up comedian at one time - but didn't have the legs for it.

mathguy 8:02 PM  

I just finished doing the LATimes Saturday puzzle. At least it was in the Saturday edition of The Maui News. It was very enjoyable and extremely crunchy. It was composed by Barry C. Silk. He's written a number of NYTimes puzzles in the past. Since NYT pays the most for puzzles, is it safe to assume that this puzzle was rejected by Will Shortz?

Z 8:21 PM  

@mathguy - No. The LATX is very close in quality and you'll see many of the same constructors. My local paper, the Detroit Free Press, carries the LATX M-S. More than once I've seen a double Silk Saturday.

LATimes solver 8:22 PM  

No, it is not safe to make that assumption.

Aketi 9:12 PM  


I totally understand because I need visuals myself. I haven't really seen any videos on framing, it was just something one of the really big black belts taught me.

As for your age and size, I'm 5 ft tall, weigh 112 lb, and I'm 57. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was developed by the Gracie family because one of the brothers was too small and weak to do Judo. Professor Ailson Henrique Brites (Jucao) is amazing. He just turned 50 and wins world championships in his weight class and trains world class champions. Nevertheless he is equally kind and generous in his training of lowly white belts like myself.

Once I take my black belt test in the Mixed Martial Arts that is mostly kick boxing styles in June I plan on transitioning to more Jiu Jitsu because it is not as much of a strain on older bodies. Apparently one of the Gracie's continued until the day before he died - in his mid 90s.

Tomorrow is the last day of buddy weekat my dojo; where buddies can come for free. Let me know if you want to come as my buddy. I'll teach you the frame in person after class. You'd have to do some kick boxing first.

All U ATE, EH? 10:46 PM  

@Anon 1:58pm, thanks for your demo of Godwin's Law (aka Godwin Slaw per @Viv), which states, roughly: Any thread, if continued long enough, will ultimately come to 'Nazi'.

@confused by EHS:
EHS don't mean you're confused; EHS mean you're Canadian. Try to work that into your shed-yool.

@Tita's 8-year-old brother was funny, but @wreck is funnier, .

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

Had A HipStER HOLIDAY , didnt look too wrong because the POA and the NISAN were not in my wheelhouse/uninferable so the wrong answers just stayed there long after i (finished) the puzzle, on paper. Ted in Denver

Anonymous 5:52 PM  

Seems the youngsters had difficulty with the first two and aced the last, with the oldsters just the opposite. Never got close to solving the bottom, mostly because I never heard of Mufti, Dunst or Dara Torres, which were gimmees for Rex. No boomer could fail to recognize JJF, so top was a gimmee -- no complaints about the Drieser book because it filled itself in easily. Unlike some other here, I don't think there's anything wrong with "lese", since the word is certainly the start of a phrase meaning "treason".

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spacecraft 11:04 AM  

Ugh. DNF, partly because I couldn't break into the south, partly because by that time I didn't give a rodent's rear. Hey, if you already have two genuses (genii?) before you're half done, there's trouble right here in fifteen city.

Actually, the first genus I guessed, because in golf broadcasts (I know, who watches golf? Me, for one) they talk about POA Annua, one of the grasses that course builders are wont to use. The second I managed to fill by crosses, though one of my many objections is that "announcement start." No one says just "ATTENTION PLEASE" without the "May I have your" in front.

Now to the bottom. I have to tell you, I am a Stephen King fan of the first water. I thought I knew all of his work. But EVEN I have never heard of "Uncle OTTO'S Truck! That's how obscure things have to get for the sake of grid-wide stacks. Fred--and others--don't try this at home. In fact, don't try this, period. "EF."

rondo 11:45 AM  

After the Stones’ gimmee I figured that this would be a piece of cake, but not so. Was sure TeeTH had to be right, but, oh, that kind of saw, after POPSICLES appeared something had to give, and it was the TRUTH. The M in MCBEAL was my last entry, due to mental pronunciation of ally instead of Ally. Didn’t watch the show much, but Calista Flockhart, yeah baby.

How about “kisses” for 58d. Got a feeling that answer could end up in a poem later.

To me these days, sadly, POA – power of attorney – is how I help manage my mother’s affairs, not a grass genus. I do watch some golf on TV, but must have missed turf talk. That grass probably doesn’t grow up here in MN.

Plenty of write-over INK spilled today, but managed to avoid the dreaded DNF. I had some FUN.

rondo 11:49 AM  

Sorry, 58a "kisses"

Burma Shave 12:30 PM  


My name’s JUMPINJACKFLASH, I’m SARI, but I mean you no harm.
Now ONEAFTERANOTHER of you, turn SLO face to face,
If you find someone SOHOT, let’s see who GETSTOFIRSTBASE.
YESBUT I’ve TURNEDTHETABLES, and my heart is achin’,
The TRUTH is I came for some FUN, so don’t give me no FLACK,
Look me straight in the AYES, then later we’ll SETT to in the sack.


eastsacgirl 1:16 PM  

Always love it when I can get the first 15er. Immediately thought of the Stones. I'm also a huge SK fan and had a very hard time pulling Uncle OTTOS truck from memory. Hand up for teeTH before TRUTH but was pretty sure about TURNEDTHETABLES off the bat and the rest of the middle 15's fell.

DNF but had FUN! Maybe killed too many brain cells in Vegas.

D_Johnson 8:07 PM  

A Hoosier holiday was my last entry, and I'm from Indiana!

Anonymous 9:54 PM  

Ugh! A real B-Breaker and I never did get Ally McBeal. Had to look up Hoosier Holiday so this whole thing was just not fun. A big DNF.

Ron Diego

And on a chilly rainy San Diego day, this didn't help. Blah.

Gregory Schmidt 6:33 PM  

Just posting a late weigh-in on Daniel Oren. I have made a living as a professional opera singer for 20 years, and I have NEVER heard of Daniel Oren. Not only that, but I asked 5 of my colleagues in a performance at the Met last night, and exactly NONE of them had heard of him either. When you Google "Opera conductor Daniel" then only auto-fill that you get are references to crossword puzzles. Nothing about Daniel Oren, where he has conducted, his bio, etc. So I am calling major BS on this clue. It would be like cluing my first name, GREGORY, as "Opera singer Schmidt". Is it technically correct? Yes. Is it likely that anyone outside of my immediate circle of friends and colleagues know me as such? Not so much.

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